By Thomas Palzer
The success and acceptance of social websites, platforms and online forums is not determined solely by the financial power of the people who run them. What counts are innovative concepts that manage to retain readers and to draw them online. This is the place to discover not only German-language authors but also incisive ideas designed to help stage a literary life on the Internet.
The Holtzbrinck Group’s platform, lovelybooks.de, appeals to a broad range of users. Those with a general sense of curiosity who don’t yet know what they’re looking for will be drawn to categories such as “most read”, “most reviewed” and “most searched for”. Or they simply post a question like “I’m looking for a good book to get my friend started. He is totally lazy when it comes to reading, but that should change. Who can help me?”
Founded in 2005 in Leipzig, the poetenladen pursues a consistent, editorially supervised concept. It is among the liveliest and most visited websites for new German-language and, increasingly, also international literature. It has since been joined by the magazine poet (2006) and the publisher poetenladen (2008). The site poetenladen is a virtual space for poetry and poets. It features stories, poems, short stories, the latest book reviews, essays and news from the literary scene. There is a magazine show, a forum and additional links. There are reviews, columns and a section introducing debut authors. With just one click, users can find everything from graduates of the Leipzig literary school to prominent poets and American underground poets.
Bluetenleser.de sends out a newsletter every Sunday about literary television and radio programmes, interesting podcasts, and tips on literary magazines — a very helpful service.
The platform literaturcafe.de is dedicated entirely to the topic of literary life on the Internet. All forms of media are creatively and cleverly combined and simultaneously reflected: from a traditional newsletter, links to Twitter and Facebook, through to numerous podcasts focusing on events held at the Frankfurt Book Fair on the subject of digitisation. There is, for instance, a podcast available that provides information about publication platforms currently available on the Internet and explains, say, how Neobooks.de, the publishing platform of Droemer Knaur Verlag, works and the potential relevance of the user ratings on such platforms. Categories like “E-books & mobile reading”, literary links, reviews and a calendar of events are also among the varied selection of content available at literaturcafe.de.
Glanz & Elend
Glanz & Elend is an online magazine for literature and contemporary criticism that currently receives over 400,000 visitors per year. In addition to excerpts and reviews, there are also audio samples from artists like Bob Dylan and historic video documentaries of poets such as Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, Ray Bradbury, and more. On top of this, there is an archive of classics, along with gossip from the literary scene and publishing industry under the fine name “Schiffsmeldungen” (The Shipping News), reviews of crime novels (Bloody Harvest), essays (Contemporary Criticism), comics, and much more. One hell of a magazine!
To read about more literary sites from Germany, download Über:blick here.
Thomas Palzer lives and works in Munich as a freelance writer, critic and filmmaker. He writes regular magazine reviews for the radio station Bayerischer Rundfunk.